Many of you will have seen the headline Sitting is the new Smoking but is it?

There is increasing evidence that lack of physical activity is bad for our health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that noncommunicable diseases (NCD’s) kill approximately 40 million people globally each year which is the equivalent to 70% of all deaths.  Obesity is evident in both developed and developing countries and is a significant public health problem which is only recently being tackled with major public health campaigns to get us all more active.

One of the reasons for the increase in obesity, which is one of the NCD’s is that we are consuming too many calories compared to our calorie expenditure. In simple terms – we need to eat less and move more! This does not mean that we need to be running a marathon every day but it does mean that we need to make more of a conscious effort to move more both at the office and at home.

The recommended physical activity guidelines in the UK can be found here: (Read more here.) and are a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week for adults. There is a misconception that you have to do this all in one go however this is not the case! A little, is better than nothing so if you can only fit in a 15 minute walk at lunchtime then do it as this can easily become a good healthy habit and a way of getting away from your desk.  Why not ask your colleagues if they want to join you?

Some simple and effective ideas for moving more in the office are:

walk-man  Get off the bus 1 or 2 stops early and walk the rest of the way or park further away from your office.

walk-man  Instead of sending an email to a colleague go and speak to them personally. This not only gets you moving but is socially interactive.

walk-man  Introduce walking meetings where possible or have the first 10 minutes of a long meeting as a walking introduction. This can be really productive and can focus attendees and research has shown that it can cut down on the length of meeting and increase productivity. Win-win!!

hwc-stairs  Take the stairs rather than the lift. It is amazing how many calories you can burn by ditching the lift and how many miles you can travel in a year!

hwc-stand  Stand at your desk when possible, for example if reading something or when speaking on the phone. Many businesses are investing in standing desks which give you the opportunity to raise your desk at any time. These desks are also good for those with musculoskeletal problems. However any standing time uses more calories and is better for your posture and this can be done at any desk.

hwc-desk  When sitting at a desk try and change your posture every 30 minutes. This can be simply standing up, stretching and sitting down or if time allows walk the length of the office or go up and down a flight of stairs.

 

Some simple and effective ideas for moving more at home:

hwc-paint  Housework and DIY are both effective ways of burning calories with the added bonus of having a clean house or decorating done!

hwc-hammer  Gardening burns calories with the added benefit of being outdoors which is good for your mental wellbeing and getting vitamin D if the sun is shining!

hwc-sitting  When watching TV use the advert breaks to get up and move around. You could do sit ups, simple stretching or run up and down the stairs. You could make this a competition with your children and get them active too!

hwc-swing  Go for a walk, bike ride or simply play games with your family, children, grandchildren and friends. A game of Frisbee, treasure hunt, tennis, swimming, the list is endless. This is good for you physically and mentally and fun!

hwc-dog-walk  Walking a dog is great exercise, gets you outside in the fresh air and is fun for all the family.

All of this advice is simple but effective. It is all about changing habits and it is amazing how quickly you will notice the benefits of increasing your activity levels. It can become quite addictive!  Another very motivational tool can be a pedometer or mobile phone App, there are many free ones to choose from.  The recommended daily steps to maintain health are 10,000 and it can be quite interesting when you start recording your daily step count to see what you are doing on an average day. This gives you a great target to aim for.

All of this advice is simple but effective. It is all about changing habits and it is amazing how quickly you will notice the benefits of increasing your activity levels. It can become quite addictive!  Another very motivational tool can be a pedometer or mobile phone App, there are many free ones to choose from.  The recommended daily steps to maintain health are 10,000 and it can be quite interesting when you start recording your daily step count to see what you are doing on an average day. This gives you a great target to aim for.

app

Enjoy the benefits and please do let us know of any other ideas you have to be effective in increasing your activity levels.

Useful Links:

Department of Health
www.doh.gov.uk

NHS Choices – Live Well
http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/Pages/Livewellhub.aspx

NHS Choices – Get Active Your Way
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/Activelifestyle.aspx

Move more sit less
http://www.movemoresitless.org.au/